Gastrointestinal Associates, in partnership with Knoxville author and celiac disease expert Janet McKenzie Prince, will present a free, public workshops to help people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity understand their condition and learn how to shop, prepare healthy meals and eat at restaurants. The workshop, “Living Well Gluten Free” will be held Thursday, October 17. Gastrointestinal Associates physician Sarkis Chobanian will also speak and answer questions along with dietician Sandy Altizer. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and their families are invited to attend this free, one-hour health seminar.
Dates: Thursday, Oct. 17.
Time: 6-7:15 p.m.
Place: Bearden High Auditorium, 8352 Kingston Pike
RSVP: by e-mail or phone
Thirteen years ago in 2000, Knoxville author Janet McKenzie Prince was so malnourished that she was a self-described “skeleton” who had to use a cane to support herself. She sought a diagnosis, desperate to find out what was causing her host of symptoms that included abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, drastic weight loss, anemia and joint and bone pain.
The diagnosis she received was devastating – terminal pancreatic cancer – and also completely wrong. Finally in the fall of that year, a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore told her that it was celiac disease that had so severely inflamed her intestines that she was deriving almost no nutrition from the food she ate.
That diagnosis began a journey to understand this digestive and autoimmune disorder, a journey that has produced several books Prince wrote to help those with celiac and gluten sensitivity live full and healthy lives through gluten-free eating. In the early years of her recovery, Prince said she had to become her own dietitian and her own chemist because the condition was not as well understood as it is today, nor were there gluten-free cookbooks or food products available.
Gastrointestinal Associates has teamed up with Prince to offer a free, public, one-hour evening workshop to help people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, as well as their family members, learn more about these conditions and how they can ensure they do not feel deprived of the enjoyment of eating. Prince’s mantra is “gluten-free is good.” She’s become an expert at shopping for and preparing tasty gluten free meals, as well as dining out in area restaurants. Her books will also be available for purchase at the workshop.
Gastrointestinal Associates founding partner Dr. Bergein “Gene” Overholt met Prince recently at a gluten-free dinner. The two immediately began discussing their mutual interest in providing health education for those who must eat gluten free for the rest of their lives in order to be healthy.
Out of that encounter grew “Living Well Gluten Free” the one-hour workshop that GIA will present October 17. Prince will tell her story, GIA physician Sarkis Chobanian and dietitian Sandy Altizer will share their expertise, and the panel will answer questions. For information about attending this workshop, see the information above.